Medellin, another city tour
The day before I had seen a group of another free walking tour that looked a bit better. I decided to join the group and I learned a lot more about Medellin. I didn’t have a reservation, because it had been fully booked, but some people didn’t show, and I could join.
Another name for people from this area is Paisa’s. Paisa;s are very proud of their culture and their background and Paisa;s have the name for being hard workers and good in negotiating (according to people from Bogota because they talk a lot and not necessarily tell the truth). They get their name from and their identity from history. Paisas are immigrants from Spain but 2 specific groups, Jews and Basque, because the area is mountain rich this area has been isolated for a long time, but this changed with the construction of the rail road. When the rail road was constructed the industrial revolution started in this area, and the started selling products throughout Colombia, giving them the name of hardworking and good negotiators.
We where told about Pablo Escobar and how he built houses and killed people. About the projects in the city where they tried to improve the worst places by changing them in to libraries or other public buildings and again about the elections and the relatively high show up of just over 50%. It was as well a very close call with in the last round the two runner ups against each other. A lot of people say the elections as well are manipulated, to prove this they have pictures of voting forma that are clearly modified, but these pictures could be modified too of course
Anyway the 2 opposing parties for the last round had very, very different ideas, in the end the more conservative and right side won. He says he will change the piece agreement with the FARC that the previous president got a noble prize for. This agreement is maybe outside of Colombia seen as a great thing but in Colombia it is a tricky topic. A lot of people don’t like it that criminals go free now and that they even get a salary. As well for the first agreement the referendum that was hold in the country was therefor as well negative. The president changed it and without a new referendum the new agreement was passed. The first time the referendum results were very close, but that the second agreement was passed without consulting the population doesn’t sit well with many people.
Medellin, jet another city tour en comuno 13
I first went to a tour in district 13. The city is divided in districts and this used to be a troublesome district. Now it seems very touristic, but a couple weeks ago there has been a territory fight. Tours are of course canceled during such periods.
With the tour our guide told us about the origin of the district. This area used to be empty, but a displaced group of people from the coastal area, displaced by the FARC, settled here because the area was empty. When they came the area was owned by a couple people, but they started building their community here at first illegally. Later on there had been an agreement that the community would slowly buy of the area of the original landowners, they never paid however, so the original owners lost the area.
The people that settled here had flad from the FARC, but after a while the FARC actually came to Medellin and ended up in this area. It became even so bad that the government had no power is this area and the FARC ruled here. If there had been a robbery, people would go to the FARC, not to the police.
Later on, the militias came here too, los Pepes for example. Both the FARC and the militias, each other’s opposites in ideology, but both trying to get their way by using terror, used this area to transport drugs over the mountains to the coast, by truck and by plain. For a while Pablo Escobar worked as well together with the FARC here.
Over time the government had a couple different actions to try to regain control (see the graffiti picture, the dices show the date and symbolize how the government gambles with the neighborhood, the birds the 2 blackops helicopters from the states, the red houses the houses with dead people), The government worked for the biggest action, operation Orion, in 2002 together with the militias and got the support of 2 blackops helicopters from the states. During the operation the FARC fled into the houses of people, since the soldiers, the blacktops and the militias didn’t know who was with the FARC and who wasn’t they just shot at everything. Many people died during this operation. In total overall the operations about 3000 people.
From 2003 till 2008 there was a peace treaty between the militias and the government in this area. The militia ruled commune 13. During their reign a lot of people got killed for having possibly a connection with the FARC, for example for being related to the barber that used to cut the hair of a known FARC member.
On the mountain in the background there is a mass grave with about a diameter of 70m. In the end one of the militia leaders got arrested, he said that is this grave are about 350 people, locals say over a 1000, no one really knows.
In all the area there are a lot of graffities showing what has happened in this area, and now the area looks very nice. The government built outdoor escalators to help older people get around in the area. OK, they destroyed 47 houses to build this and the original owners were not reimbursed, but the escalator still seems a great thing for the neighborhood. A long the route we followed with the tour there are lots of touristic souvenir shops, restaurants and people dancing or doing an improv rap on the streets.
We had dinner with the tour guide and me and another Dutch guy went to the botanical gardens. We played frisbee but after maybe throwing 4 times we were told to stop.
In the evening me and the Dutch guy went to a Language exchange. There were mostly locals and they were so interested in the Netherlands and anything we told it was really fun.
Medellin and Colombia against Poland match
Me and Tom, a Dutch guy I had met on the tour went to watch the match, or actually the reaction of Colombians to the match, at the stadium. Al most everyone was wearing the colors of Colombia, mostly the yellow football shirts.
We went to a bar and found some chairs in the back. It was fun to see how everyone reacted to the smallest chances of a goal, by either team, or when there was a foul.
Colombia won the match with 3-0, people were crazy happy. We walked around in the neighborhood to see how people celebrated and afterwards went to the botanical gardens.
Medellin playing soccer and frisbee
We went to a sport park, here can you make use of the pool, the football fields and the tennis fields for free.
We played first frisbee, just the 2 of us. Then we got some food, and returned to play football with some local kids. At the end we played a bit of frisbee.